In 1750, Zurich merchants Caspar and Hans Conrad Schulthess set up a silk-trading business in the “Zum gewundenen Schwert” building on the Limmatquai. On extended stays abroad and regular business trips, Hans Conrad Schulthess gained a wealth of experience not only in the purchase and distribution of silk, but also in his sideline business, trading in securities and bills of exchange. The intuitive and successful businessman was regarded as an authority in the town, and his premises were a meeting point for Zurich’s scholarly and literary elite in the second half of the eighteenth century.
In the nineteenth century, the business gradually transformed from a silk-trading company into an establishment focused solely on banking. In the 1805 governmental calendar, it appeared for the first time as a bank under the name Caspar Schulthess sel. Erben & Schinz. Founder Hans Conrad Schulthess’s grandson and great-grandson were able to maintain the prestigious position of the banking and trading institution in the nineteenth century. The prevalence of telegraphs and modern means of transport meant that income from the silk trade dropped, and in 1855, Caspar Schulthess’s successors switched their focus completely to the banking business. The year 1882 marked the arrival of Louis Rahn-Bärlocher, the first representative of one of the families that run the Bank today. In the wake of the new Swiss Code of Obligations and a change of partner, the Bank’s name was altered to Escher & Rahn in 1893.
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The twentieth century saw another representative of the Bank’s current partner families, Dr Max Ernst Bodmer, join the company, resulting in another change of name to Rahn & Bodmer in 1917. As well as admission to trade on the stock exchange in 1923, the founding of the Swiss Private Bankers Association in 1934 was another important milestone. Given his banking and legal training, Dr Max Ernst Bodmer was co-author of the articles of association and the first president of the association. In 1951, Richard M. Bidermann became the first member of the Bidermann family to become a partner in addition to the families Rahn and Bodmer.
Today, Rahn+Bodmer Co. is run by Peter R. Rahn, Dr Christian Rahn, André M. Bodmer, Martin H. Bidermann and Christian R. Bidermann. Rahn+Bodmer Co. is among an exclusive circle of non-listed, owner-run Swiss private banks whose partners have unlimited liability. The strong growth experienced over the past few decades demonstrates that clients’ trust in independent, risk-conscious and tailored asset management has increased considerably.